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OK,it's your turn to throw a party...only, what you'd really like to throw is a fit. What to make. What to do about the kids. How to make it unforgettable.
The answer is: First and foremost, make it fun for yourself.
Say you want to hold a party in conjunction with the championship in college basketball. How do you make it interesting for both adults and children? With a little planning, a little creativity, a little input from YOUR young ones, you can throw a party your guests will be talking about for a long time.
Theme parties are so easy, the wonder is why more of us don't think to throw them. The key is making them original.
I recently had the office over to watch the Final Four teams battle it out on TV in the NCAA men's college basketball tournament. I didn't want to do the standard cold cuts and pizza thing. So I put on the thinking cap, got my son to put his on, too, and together we planned a super party -- and carried it off.
Here's what you do:
THEME -- For us, it's basketball. What does that mean? Well, basketball items and basketball-colored items. Utensils, for instance, are orange plastic knives/forks/spoons. Plates, cups, napkins, tablecloths, available at your local party or paper store, all shout out the "Slam Dunk" theme. Balloons: Orange. Banners: You can get them in the basketball theme, or you can get your young ones to make them. Speaking of kids, you want to have small activites planned for them so the adults can watch the games. Pinatas, believe it or not, come in all sorts of shapes, including basketballs. Buy one or make one and stuff it with candy -- then let the kids give it a good whack. Instead of "Pin the tail on the donkey," you "Pin the basketball onto the basketball court," and see which kids come closest to putting their markers right onto the baskets. Devise a point system, set up two teams and watch them "hoop" it up. Little party favors add a nice touch. We had basketball key chains, basketball erasers and basketball stickers.
FOOD -- You want to keep the cost manageable, you don't want to do all the cooking yourself and you want the feast to be memorable. An easy place to start is the local grocery. Many of them today offer party platters -- from mini-croissant sandwiches to pita pockets to elaborate bread boules and even sushi. And the cost is much more reasonable than going to a restaurant or caterer. Ask for help. They'll be glad to give advice. For my party, I went with the mini-croissants -- roast beef, turkey breast, cheese -- that were already assembled. I added a platter of wings -- and voila, the feast was on. People jumped right in and found the change of pace interesting. And there was enough variety for even the kids to partake. Which leads to dessert. Back to the theme. My son and I made cupcakes, and decorated them as basketballs. Back to the local grocery, I ordered up basketball cookies. A big hit for all.
BEVERAGE -- You'll need three big containers, either party tubs or coolers. In one is the beer -- which you've asked the guests to bring as their only contribution to the party. In another is the soda -- go to the nearest bulk-grocery or the bulk aisle in your favorite grocery, and just get the store brand. Hey, with all the delicious food you have, no one's going to notice if it's Pepsi or Safeway's best. But you'll notice, in the pocketbook. And the third container is for the juice boxes, for the kids. This way, you reduce the likelihood of those "excuse me" spills.
It worked! The rave reviews keep coming in.
I'm even willing to entertain the thought of entertaining again!